Thiebou Jenn - Wolof for 'rice with fish' - is Senegal's version of Jollof Rice. It is usually served in a large tray for sharing, with the fish and vegetables piled in the center. I love this idea of sharing food from the same platter. It brings a sense of togetherness, love and family.
Chef Pierre Thiam in his book, Senegal, says if you spend time in Senegal you will hear of the term 'teranga' which in Wolof means hospitality. Offering teranga to a guest or even a stranger is most often symbolised by sharing food.
“We believe that when food is shared, our bowl will remain plentiful — Chef Pierre Thiam – Senegal”
Cooking Thiebou Jenn is a bit of a process. Please read the whole recipe before starting. There are three main parts to my recipe.
1. Making 'Rof' - preparing, marinating and frying the fish.
2. Cooking of the vegetables in a tomato base - I use Jollof Sauce to quicken this part of the process. And finally,
3.Cooking of the rice in the tomato sauce.
For authenticity use broken basmati rice which can be bought in most Asian food shops.
Bunch of fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves
2 green chillies
1 stock cube
Chopped vegetables (you can adapt this to whatever’s available in your larder):
1 Sweet potato
1 Small eggplant
1 Small cabbage
A few okra fingers
1 Onion chopped
2 Garlic cloves minced
1 Vegetable stock cube
1 Jar of Jollof Sauce
400g Broken rice
1 Cup approx. of oil for deep frying the fish
- For the fish marinade, blend the parsley, garlic, chilli and veg stock cube with a little oil. Clean the fish, then score into the flesh and fill with the marinade, season with salt and pepper and set aside
- In a large deep pot, heat oil and deep fry the fish on each side until cooked.
- Ladle out some of the frying oil (don't throw it away) leaving behind 3-4 tablespoons. In the same pot, fry the onion until soft.
- Next, add the garlic and fry for a further minute then mix in the stock cube and Jollof Sauce.
- Cook for about 5 minutes before incorporating prepped vegetables, salt and pepper.
- Add a cup of water. At this point you can steam the rice in the same pot the vegetables are cooking. Put the washed rice in a metal sieve lined with muslin cloth. Place the the sieve in the pot before replacing the lid. Cook the vegetables for about 30 mins or until soft.
- When ready, take the vegetables out and set aside in a closed container to keep warm. For added flavour drizzle over some of the oil used earlier for frying and add the rice to finish cooking in the sauce. If there is a lot of sauce after taking the vegetables out, ladle some of sauce out before adding the rice. You need enough sauce to just cover the rice. Cook the rice until soft.
- Serve rice in a platter with the fish and vegetables piled on top.